Five, four, three, two, one…HAPPY NEW YEAR! Cue the traditional song of Auld Lang Syne to usher in the dawning of another New Year. From Times Square in New York to Trafalgar Square in London, voices ring out, accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display on the stroke of midnight. So, where should be heading this year for the most dazzling New Years Eve experiences? Here are some of the best free world-class events around the world.
One of the first countries in the world to celebrate New Years is down under in Sydney, Australia. It presents a world-class firework display that takes on different themes every year. In 2012, the theme was ‘Embrace’ and millions around the world certainly did embrace the firework display. If you are planning to be there this year, you will join about 1.6 million spectators who line the numerous vantage points around Sydney Cove and Dawes Point to see an estimated 7-tonnes of fireworks explode! There are both paid and free areas to watch the fireworks; look for ones that offer toilet facilities, food and drink, and seating. For visitors with kids, there is an earlier firework display at 9pm that the little ones can stay awake to see. Afterwards, there is the midnight display combined with the Harbour Light Parade that uses 52 illuminated boats.
New York, Times Square
The Big Apple explodes in a frenzy at the stroke of midnight as the Waterford Crystal Ball drops, marking the start of the New Year. This high-energy event takes place in Times Square in New York City, USA. The estimated 1-million spectators begin to crowd into the surrounding streets at 3pm when the streets from 43rd Street to Broadway are closed off to traffic. As evening falls and the chilly weather sets in, the crystal ball is ceremoniously risen 70-ft high atop One Times Square at around 6pm to await the drop at midnight. Then it’s fireworks time as the city erupts in a breathtaking pyrotechnic display enhanced by a showering blizzard of confetti.
London, Trafalgar Square
Hear ye, hear ye – join the crowd along South Bank near the London Eye for the magnificent Mayor’s firework display in historic London, England. About 250,000 spectators line the embankment along the River Thames to view at least 12,500 fireworks light up the sky over the City of London. When the clock strikes midnight, the chimes of the Big Ben clock tower ring out for all to hear. It’s succeeded by a burst of Auld Lang Syne, followed by the fantastic 10-minute fireworks display.
Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour
The location to watch this fast-moving firework display is Victoria Harbour between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. It begins down by the harbour and works its way inland to the Hong Kong Convention Centre, the main focal point. The best spots to see the display are from a cruise boat in the Harbour, the Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, or the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. Don;t go anywhere once the fireworks are over because the Symphony of Lights show begins with a dynamic synchronized laser show.
Dubai, Burj Khalifa
In Dubai, the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) is the focus of the New Years Eve celebrations. Fireworks are spurted, launched, and exploded from what is known as the world’s tallest firework display. Half an hour before it begins there is a cultural parade below, with guest artistes from the international scene and a show on the Burj Lake. Spectators start arriving at around 8pm to get the best vantage spots, but it’s hard not to see this firework extravaganza that towers above the city.
Copacabana Beach, Brazil
Put on your best white clothes to bring you luck as you join the mega crowd of about 2-million on the sands of Copacabana Beach in Brazil for a hot New Year’s celebration.
The action gets going at around 8pm on the main stage opposite the Copacabana Palace which, along with three other stages along the beach, host various live performances. You can expect to hear from local samba schools, artistes, and international stars. In case you are far from the stage, there are audio towers dotted along the beachfront.
On the stroke of midnight, about 24 boats in the bay begin a spectacular firework display that dazzles over the sea.
So, when December 31st comes around again, you can discover a world of great destinations to visit on New Years Eve. Look to the sky for the most spectacular firework displays as the clock counts down to the Happy New Year!